September 16: Exhibition Games Begin

The hockey season seemed to inch a little bit closer last night as the first National Hockey League exhibition game took place. The Stanley Cup champion Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Boston Bruins 6-4 at Treasure Island Gardens in London, Ontario.

Other news of the day features the first full day of workouts for Montreal Canadiens, a significant injury to a Philadelphia Flyer and the usual notes from around the NHL.

Stemkowski, Carleton Lead Leafs

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Wayne Carleton

In London, Peter Stemkowski and Wayne Carleton each scored a pair of goals to lead Toronto past Boston. Those two, plus right winger Jim Pappin made up a formidable line (at least in size) that had its way with the Bruins.

Globe and Mail sports reporter Lou Cauz reported that despite the aggressive play of the two teams, the aspect of the match that garnered the most attention was the questionable work of referee Tom Smith. Smith was inconsistent and “overly officious” much to the detriment of the play. He handed out 30 minor penalties, one misconduct and awarded Dave Keon a penalty shot, which was stopped by Boston goalkeeper Gerry Cheevers.

It appears that Smith will be assigned NHL contests this year, and it’s difficult to see how this official will stand up to the quality of play in the regular season NHL. He was definitely out of his element in last night’s exhibition.

The line of Stemkowski, Carleton and Pappin took care of almost all of the Toronto offence. Stemkowski netted a pair of goals and added two assists. Carleton had two goals and Pappin added another. Frank Mahovlich, who also put in a very strong performance, scored the other Toronto marker.

Tommy Williams scored twice for the Bruins, with former Leaf Eddie Shack and another new Bruin, Phil Esposito, adding singletons.

Johnny Bower blanked the Bruins in the first period before Bruce Gamble took over, as scheduled, for the final 40 minutes. Eddie Johnston and Cheevers split the netminding duties for Boston, each surrendering three goals.

Big M to Sign?

In other Leafs news, it appears that Frank Mahovlich is about to become the highest-paid player in Maple Leafs history. The Globe and Mail’s Dick Beddoes is reporting that big Frank and the Leafs have agreed  to a deal which will play the left winger around $40,000 for this season.

Beddoes says that the figure represents a slight raise over last year’s stipend.  It has been speculated that if Mahovlich had produced more than the paltry 17 goals he had last year, his salary likely would have topped $50,000. In 11 seasons, he’s averaged more than 25 goals per year.

Habs Begin Workouts

Montreal Canadiens began workouts in earnest yesterday with 56 players hitting the Montreal Forum ice. Canadiens said that all of last year’s regulars were under contract. Dick Duff was the last to sign, yesterday morning.

The only two unsigned players on the ice were utility man and super-pest Bryan Watson and rookie Danny Grant. Both were scheduled to huddle with general manager Sam Pollock today.

Watson was acquired from the Minnesota North Stars in one of those complicated agreements that enabled the Canadiens to retain the services of forward Claude Larose. He spent most of the 1966-67 season with the Detroit Red Wings, compiling only one assist in 48 games. He was usually employed as a defensive forward and an agitator. He had 66 penalty minutes which attests to the type of style he plays. He can be useful at either forward or defence.

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John Ferguson, right, throws a playful headlock on new teammate and good friend Bryan Watson.

Watson is also best friends off the ice with Canadiens tough guy John Ferguson. It will be interesting to see how the presence of these two ruffians will impact the Montreal lineup.

Grant, 22, was with Houston of the Central Professional Hockey League for his first professional season last year. A graduate of the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey Association, he had 50 points for the Apollos, made up of 22 goals and 28 assists. Pollock is very high on Grant and gives him a good shot a cracking the big club’s lineup.

The Habs have four netminders vying for two spots. Gump Worsley and Rogatien Vachon are the incumbents and it appears they have the inside track on the big-league jobs. Two young goalkeepers who may be ready to challenge are Ernie Wakely and Gerry Desjardins.

Wakely, 26, was with the Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League last year, and led the loop in wins with 36. Desjardins is only 23 and was with Houston, putting up middling results. But the youngster has extremely quick reflexes and a dazzling glove hand.

On defence, Canadiens emerged from the Expansion Draft almost unscathed. Only Jean-Guy Talbot was lost. He went to Minnesota. His spot will likely be taken by either of Carol Vadnais or Serge Savard.

Two other rookies who could make a strong bid for a forward slot are like Grant, Peterborough grads. Mickey Redmond, not yet 20 years old, led the OHA Junior A series with 51 goals in 48 games in 1966-67. He’s a swift-skating winger with a big shot. Garry Monahan is a six-foot centre who had 84 points for the Petes last year (30-54-84). He’s an industrious type and a good playmaker.

Canadiens training camp roster, as published by the Montreal Gazette:

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Quick Hits

  • Red Wings general manager-coach Sid Abel says he will use Gordie Howe on defence if he can’t come up with another viable candidate.
  • Howe revealed that after his elbow surgery last June he had to return to the hospital where it was performed because of complications. It’s just fine, now.
  • Scottish-born Sandy Fitzpatrick, 22, is making an impression at the Minnesota North Stars Camp. He was with Omaha of the CPHL in the Rangers system last year, scoring 15 goals and adding 30 assists.
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Sandy Fitzpatrick
  • Centre Bill Masterton suffered a dislocated shoulder in a North Stars intra-squad game and will be lost to the team for at least two weeks.
  • North Stars defenceman Elmer Vasko had his sore knee looked at in Toronto and will rejoin the team on Sunday.
  • Biggest position battle at the Penguins camp continues to be at the goalkeeper spot. Joe Daley, Les Binkley, Marv Edwards and Hank Bassen have all been outstanding so far.
  • Millionaire singer Bing Crosby heads a group that has bought a minority share in the California Seals. Crosby has been linked with the team since the franchise was awarded.
  • Toronto lawyer Alan Eagleson says that goalie Charlie Hodge will report to the Seals training camp at Port Huron, Michigan, on Sunday.
  • Philadelphia Flyers centre Lou Angotti suffered a broken left thumb in a fight with rookie Paul Cates during a scrimmage. He’ll be out two or three weeks.
  • Flyers president Bill Putnam says he’s close to lining up a radio station to carry Flyers games this season.
  • New Boston Bruin Eddie Shack says he is moving his entire family to New England and will spend all year in the area.
  • Los Angeles Kings first intra-squad game ended up with Johnny Wilson’s Golds edging Red Kelly’s Blues 4-3. Terry Gray scored the winning goal.
  • New York Rangers have signed forwards Orland Kurtenbach and Bob Nevin, the team captain.

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